Today’s New York Times editorializes on how two Texas voters in the Evenwelcase are challenging the use of overall population for redistricting. “They want to force the state to count only the number of voters in apportioning districts. This approach, besides being at odds with long-accepted practice, is both inflexible and impractical. The census, which provides the data that most states use, counts people, not voters,” The Times editorial continues, “the plaintiffs know that getting rid of a system that counts all people would hurt Democratic-leaning urban areas with large, noncitizen Latino populations, and would favor rural and conservative areas where more Republicans live. In other words, the suit is an effort to transfer political power from Democratic to Republican regions. The Supreme Court has never required that states follow this or any other specific method of apportionment, and there is no reason to start now.”
The CUNY Mapping Service has created an excellent interactive map website enabling readers to compare legislative district populations by overall population and Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP). Should the Evenwel plaintiffs succeed in having the U.S.Supreme Court rule that either voting age population (VAP), the numbers impacting state legislative districts would be comprehensive and would shift districts both within counties and regionally from the downstate metropolitan area to upstate New York.
Under the set of legislative lines enacted in 2012, the average size of each Senate district is 307,356 persons. An Assembly district averages 129,039 persons. The overall deviation from the largest to smallest Assembly districts is 7.94% (many upstate districts are overpopulated; downstate districts are underpopulated, but all are within the overall limit of 10%).